I need to share my feelings here, people: I don’t like bell peppers. I don’t like their texture, or their weirdly watery taste. They are a food that gives no pleasure, at least to this palate, even as they fail to directly assail -- they are, in short, the candidate whose name you can never remember, but very much would like to go away.
My colleague and Food52 lurker Steven Lee Myers, when told of this hatred, said: “I feel like your therapist and I've reached the breakthrough moment when I understand everything that is wrong with you! I think we start with the Portuguese salsa made of red peppers and salt, called mahgleta, and then we work through roasted red peppers then we tackle romesco sauce and ratatouille!”
But how did this become about him?
Anyway the point here is that I have an affection for Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, because the sauce here is very tasty, but also because it’s a recipe that cuts your work in half.
My husband, who still struggles to properly salt a vat of boiling pasta water, loves nothing more than to fire up his new grill. (Why new? Because he gave the one in L.A. to the movers? Why? He never really explained.)
While he knows his way around steaks and burgers, he had never done a pork roast on the grill and was very pleased with lorinarlock’s very specific cooking instructions, right down to the minute, which were exactly correct. If possible, please do this recipe on the grill, because a pork roast, salted up and grilled, is, as it turns out, a tender thing, far more juicy than one cooked in the oven. Thanks USDA for those new pork cooking temperatures.
While the grill was heating, I did the peppers in the oven, then popped them in the plastic bag for later peeling. My neighbor showed up, looking hungry and carrying some chocolates from Norway. As we chatted, I tossed all my ingredients into the food processor, one at a time as instructed, while my husband managed the grill. The joy of leaving the meat to someone else cannot be overstated.
This sauce (which I doubled as I made two roasts) whips up into a feather red concoction, all the more so if you do NOT make my one terrible error, which was to use whole pumpkin seeds when apparently the little green ones were what the author had in mind. Little flecks of shell offended me, but not the neighbor, who proclaimed she would like this sauce on pasta. I am not sure about that, but it is nice when dipped into with pita bread.
The husband proclaimed he would like the pork all by itself, so beguiled was he by this new meat for his grill. I pointed out that that would not be a recipe. He disagreed, and then my neighbor started to explain to us how it is very important to learn Latin. And then we ate #APieForMikey, and did the dishes.
- 1 1/4 pound pork tenderloin
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper Ask a question about this ingredient.
- 1 tablespoon butter Ask a question about this ingredient.
- 1 cloves garlic, peeled Ask a question about this ingredient.
- 2 ounces Pecorino cheese Ask a question about this ingredient.
- 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (shelled -- they should be green in color - Jenny) Ask a question about this ingredient.
- 1 roasted red bell pepper, (fresh or from a jar), peeled and seeded Ask a question about this ingredient.
- 1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar Ask a question about this ingredient.
- 1 teaspoon paprika Ask a question about this ingredient.
- Pinch cayenne Ask a question about this ingredient.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil Ask a question about this ingredient.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F or the grill to medium high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Ask a question about this step.
- If cooking in the oven, heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter. Add the pork to the skillet. Cook until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn and repeat until browned on all sides. Transfer to the oven and cook until a thermometer inserted into the center reaches 135°F, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let sit for 5 minutes. Ask a question about this step.
- If grilling, put the pork on the grill over direct heat, cover and cook for 6 minutes. Turn, cover and cook for 6 minutes. Turn again, cover and cook 6 more minutes. until a thermometer inserted into the center reaches 135°F. Transfer to a cutting board and let sit for 5 minutes. Ask a question about this step.
- While the pork is cooking, put the garlic in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the pecorino and pulse until finely chopped. Add the pumpkin seeds and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add the pepper, vinegar, paprika and cayenne. Pulse until almost smooth. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt. Ask a question about this step.
- Slice the pork and arrange on a platter. Serve with the red pepper sauce on the side. Ask a question about this step.
- To roast a pepper: Place the red pepper under the broiler and cook until the skin begins to brown. Turn and cook until all of the sides are browned. When it’s cooked on all sides, put in a plastic bag and seal it. Let rest 20 minutes before peeling.
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Photo by Jennifer Causey.
By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, covers Congress for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.
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